Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014

Hello everyone! Man it feels like it has been forever since I talked to you last but it has been just as long as it is every other transfer week. By the way, we just had transfers.... I totally forgot to tell you that we were getting calls this Sunday. I will tell you about that in a second.

This week was super long. Tuesday was just like any other day in the mission. Lots of tracting and teaching and such. But being with Elder Siglin really helps out! Wednesday was great! I gave a training on language and why its so important to use proper language in all our lessons and times when we are around other people. You should use appropriate language all the time anyway but there are things you shouldn't say in a lesson like calling them our investigators or "crap" or things along those lines because they take away from the Spirit and it really does make a difference. We also talked about filler words that we use, such as: "Um", "You know" "...what I mean" can be included with that as well), and "Like". Also what we call "fluff" isn't good either. There are two types of invitations: Bold and Fluffy. Fluffy means that you add words in that aren't necessary and may even give them a way out of accepting the invitation, like, "Would you be willing to try reading the Book of Mormon and the if you feel like you are ready getting baptized?". The bold way is straight forward and powerful in a loving manner, "You can know the Book of Mormon is true by reading and Praying about it. When you come to know it's true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the proper Priesthood authority of God?" To practice not using filler words or fluff, we each stood up in front of the district and we had to introduce the Book of Mormon in under a minute and invite them to read and pray about it. It was a great lesson!

Later Wednesday night we went to help the young women out with their activity. There was us, Elders Williamson and Dalling (they are in the ward with us), and Sisters Camp and Yarborough (they are not in our ward but we invited them cause the young women wanted girls there too). We talked about our conversion story and how we came to have our own personal testimony that the church is true and why we decided to serve missions. It was a blast! We were all laughing and having a good time but when it was time to be serious it got quiet and everyone listened intently and were touched by the Spirit. There was never a dull moment cause either we were laughing or being spiritually uplifted. I realized that I haven't told you guys a lot about my past. And I don't know if over an email is the best way to do so or if you even want to know. But I want you to know that I have made mistakes and have taken the necessary steps to be forgiven of those sins. But it was a great meeting. :)

Thursday was nothing special, just another day living the life of a missionary! Friday was the baptismal interviews for Isaac and Karina Paramo. They cancelled on us 30 minutes before the interview.... :( Everything was going downhill with the family. Lalo had a job that he loved but the truck company he worked for lost their contract somehow and everyone in the company got laid off. So Lalo has been looking frantically for a job but to no avail. So he got super depressed and started drinking Thursday night. He has a tattoo on both hands in the area between your thumbs and pointer fingers. Well he thought that maybe if he got rid of those then people would be more willing to hire him. So he took a spoon and stuck in on the burner for about a minute.... He then tried to burn the tattoo off of his left hand but just ended up with a really bad burn that has been blistering like crazy but the tattoo hasn't been effected in any way. So Friday he didn't want to drive because it hurt so bad and wanted to do the baptismal interview just before the baptism on Saturday. I told him that that wouldn't work and he told me to just try and then hung up. Well a few minutes later, Isaac called and said he didn't want to get baptized cause he and Karina weren't ready. That was a hard thing to hear. He hung up and no one would answer their phone but we got a text from Lalo telling us not to come over that night cause they were heading out. So that was hard.

Saturday we went over and visited him. The kids didn't get baptized but Lalo poured his heart out to us and to his kids and wife about how much he loves them and how much he loves the church. He said that he is willing to give up any worldly thing to make sure his family is provided for but that it really hurts when he is willing to make these sacrifices but his kids aren't willing to get baptized when they know it's true. He started crying and the kids started crying and I started crying and it was just amazing. In the 3 months I have been in the Palo Verde ward, that was the most powerful lesson we've had with them. Lalo said they wouldn't be able to make it to church cause he felt like people would judge him for not having his kids get baptized and so on. They were just excuses but he was crying as he asked us not to be mad at him for not coming so we told him that no one would judge him but that if he didn't want to come this week then they wouldn't have to even though we would love him to be there. He didn't come Sunday but we got to go over and see them that evening and it was great.

Sunday was good. Church was fine! We missed Sunday School helping a little girl try to find her ring that she dropped during sacrament meeting and was throwing a big fit about it. We never found it but she eventually calmed down so that's good. It will turn up, I'm sure of it! In Priesthood we talked about Christ-like attributes and did a little test thing for ourselves to find out where we measure up to all of the standards listed in Preach My Gospel. If you would like to take it as a family sometime, it is in PMG at the end of the Christ-like attributes section (I think that's number 10). What I haven't mentioned yet is that we got transfer calls on Sunday night. I have been asked to transfer out to the Gila Valley and turn it from an apostate area to an obedient area. However, there are already 3 District Leaders and 2 Zone Leaders out here so he asked if I would be willing to step down momentarily from District Leader till we need one in this area again. I said sure but kind of hesitantly. He sensed that very quickly and assured me that it wasn't a bad thing that I was being stepped down. He said I did a great job and really helped my district out and did great trainings! But that I was needed else-where for the time being. I'm okay with that.

So Monday was full of packing and saying goodbye to people. The hardest people to say goodbye to was Bishop Howe's family and the Thomas family. We were at each of those houses for 2 hours eating and laughing and talking and I didn't want to leave. But we needed to so I could finish packing. It was a sad day knowing that I wouldn't be with Elder Siglin anymore. We were great companions and I really loved serving with him. But I am super excited for my new area!

I am currently serving in the Gila Valley, specifically Pima, AZ. I am with Elder Justin Wardell and he has been our for 23 months. This is his last transfer which in our mission lingo means that I am going to "kill" him. That just means that I will be his last companion before he goes home. We live out in the middle of no where and cover 3 wards: Pima 1st, Pima 4th, and Fort Thomas. We have a new set of sisters too who just took the place of a set of Elders who weren't following the mission rules. They cover the other 4 wards in the stake. That means that it is just us 2 sets of missionaries coving the stake... Sounds like a Utah mission! Gila Valley is like a mini Utah but in the middle of Arizona so it feels pretty much like home. There are lots of restaurants and fast food joints around here and we get discounts at places like McDonalds and Dairy Queen and a free pizza once a week at Little Caesars. So I'm super stoked to be out here! I hit a year in just a couple of weeks. I am super excited! Time is just flying by.

Well I better finish up! My letter is getting long and I'm running out of things to talk about. Remember I love you all and I pray for you everyday!

~Elder Kyle Harris

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

Hello Family!!! I miss you all so much! I can't believe that it have been over a week since we Skyped! It seems like it was forever ago!! I loved EVERY second of it! you guys were really choppy the whole time unfortunately but just as we were saying the prayer goodbye, I decided to turn the little fan off that was blowing at me cause they don't have A.C. and when I did that, I could hear you guys perfectly! I was so mad at myself. I had the power to make it so that I could hear everything you were saying and maybe it wouldn't have frozen up so much... Or maybe it still would have been like that... I don't know. But it was amazing! :)

Dad: Congrats on the awards! I always knew I had the greatest dad in the world and now everyone else knows it too! I'm sure it was an easy decision for the Huntsman's to choose you for the award. Everyone around you loves you so much and you can't go anywhere without someone from your school coming up and saying hello. Most high school teachers have it hard cause they have to remember over 100 kids names, maybe 200 if they teach a popular subject. But you have to remember every kid in the schools name because they all know you and come up to you to say hi! Because of you, I wasn't scared to go to jr high or high school because I knew that I would have an immediate friend pool once they found out I was your kid. Fathers day is coming up in the next little while. I wish I could skype and tell you happy Fathers Day but I can't... But I got you two gifts that I will send you soon! :) I love you dad!

Mom: I love reading your emails! I am never worried about home or not being there for something special because I know that you will tell me everything that happens there. :) I wish that I had some ideas for your lesson to give you but I can't think of very much right now. There is a quote by someone that says, "Preach the Gospel. If you have to, use words." This is so simple to! I never realized it but everyone around us, whether they are members or not, are watching us and looking to us as examples. So in our every day actions and language, we just have to live our testimonies and that will draw people to us. That is what a testimony is for in the first place. It is our foundation to stand on at all times, not just at church for 1st Sunday or just when we are around the Bishop. We need to live our testimonies and tell people through our actions what we believe. I don't know if that helps or if that is the way you want to take the lesson but that is what was coming into my mind as I was thinking and typing. Hope it didn't sound like just rambling! :) I LOVE YOU MOM!!!

Gavin: I heard that you got some awesome selfies from the banquet! I have never met the Huntsman's or the Governor so that is really cool that you got that chance! Were they nice? What else did you talk to them about? I also heard that you played the State Champion the first round of the tourny. That is unfortunate but now you know what to work towards! What grade was he in? I bet you played your little heart out! You'll get it next time. :) I love you Buddy!

Connor: Hey dude! School is almost out! How was your first year of Jr. High? Now is the BEST time for you to make some good habits of getting your homework done and turned in on time. That is something I have struggled with my whole life, even into college. It is a really hard habit to break so don't get into it, okay? :) How was your choir concert? Mom and Dad said that you did great and that you got a lot of compliments too! I believe it! From what I heard from Skype, Im sure that you did great! I love you Mr Connor-Bloomin-Bottom!

Syd and Dave: I can't believe how big Calvin is! He seemed so happy too which must mean you guys are doing a great job raising him! Are you excited for the summer and just being able to spend every second with him? I bet you are! I would be too if I could just spend all that time with him. I get to spend it with Elder Siglin for now so that is exciting enough for me! ;) How is work going Dave? Are you still in a managing position for NuSkin? How did you get into that position in the first place? That sounds like a great job! I LOVE YOU!

Grandma and Grandpa: Happy 50th ANNIVERSARY! I love you guys so much! You guys serving your missions helped me make the decision to serve a mission as well. Thank you for always loving me and supporting me! I love you so much!!

I can't believe that I am under a month away from hitting a year. I am almost at my hump day and it couldn't be coming any faster! I have learned and grown more than I could have possibly imagined I would! This is going to sound a little silly but sometimes I feel like everything else around me is going in normal speed but I am just going in slow motion. What i mean is I don't really feel like I am going to grow up and get married and have a family and someday be old and wrinkled with 15 great grand children. I want it to but it just doesn't seem like it will every happen, you know? I know it's a weird thing to think about but it just keeps coming into my head. Maybe that is God's way of telling me I need to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow or something like that. :P

This week was actually a pretty good one! I went on 3 exchanges so I got little work done in my own area. But Elder Siglin took over the area like a BOSS and worked hard every time. This week we didn't hit our goals but we were really close. I went on exchanges with Elders Alston and Stoelk, and Elder Maughan. Elder Taylor Alston is from Sandy and has been out for 14 months. He is training Elder Stoelk who is from Oregon and he's been out for just over 1 month now. I remember being at that point and thinking to myself that I still had FOREVER to go. And I did, luckily! I am glad that I still have a while because I have learned so much out here and love the feeling I get every time I meet someone new that wants to learn! Elder Maughan is from somewhere.... I don’t remember where though! He has been out for 4 months and is legally deaf! He has hearing aids so he can hear pretty much everything that's going on around him. He has been thinking for over 2 months now about a sign name for me. A sign name is what deaf people give you so that they can just do that instead of signing your name every time. The catch is that only a legally deaf person can give you the sign name. You can't just make one up unfortunately. But when I get mine, I'll let you know what it is! Syd: in your sign language class from high school, did you get a sign name? (can you even remember that far back? :p)

I don't remember anyone we taught in the other areas and we didn't have any big miracles like not dying or baptizing the world but that's okay! I am really working on looking for the little things in life to be grateful for and it has helped me be happier! Something big that is coming up though is we have 2 baptisms this Saturday! Isaac and Karina are getting baptized at 4 p.m. :) I am SUPER happy for them and proud of them for making this step forward! :) I can't wait to see how the Gospel can change their lives!

Well I know there isn't a whole lot in this email and I'm sorry. I will do better next week. I guess this letter was mostly to tell everyone I love you and I miss you. Remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures! <3

~Elder Kyle Harris

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

No email this week because we got to Skype for a LONG time yesterday :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

Hello Family! I think I got everyone on here. :p This week has been a quick one! I have been either super busy or super not for the past couple of days but the Lord showed me that this area is still on fire if we just get up the will-power and go out and do it! We have been so focused on the people that we are teaching that we sometimes forget that we need to specifically go out finding rather than just try and contact people on the street when we aren't busy. 

Jeni Bodine emailed me this week! She just hit 11 months! She promised me that she wouldn't get married before I got home so that's good. ;) This is a snippet of what she sent to me. "There is a lady here in my ward that looks like your mom, and she also has a son named Kyle out on his mission right now :) so every time I see her I think of you guys. She's pretty funny too. You would love her :) And hey, my district leaders name is kyle too! funny." Pretty sweet right? She is an awesome missionary! Baptizing the heck out of people. Literally, she's getting rid of the bad so therefore, baptizing the "heck" out of them. :P

So about Skype this week! This is what the plan is, On SATURDAY AT 12 we will be going over to our investigators house and skyping from there. This is really one of the only times we can do it because Elder Siglin is from NY and his family will be in church from 9-12. We will be in church from 1-4. Dinner is from 5-6. However, it is 2 hours later in NY which makes it 8 when dinner is finished. So we will be Skyping then. Does that work?? I hope so! We will call on Friday to make sure! If it doesn't, then we will have Elder Siglin Skype on Saturday and I will just Skype on Sunday around 6. Saturday would be better but if we need to wait then that is understandable!

So about this week!

Monday we got a call to see if we could go do some service for Tuesday. So on Tuesday morning at 9 we went over to help out. Their names are the Hatch's. We also had the missionaries from the ward they are moving out of helping. They will be moving into my ward soon. So we get there at 9 and help them move out. We then went to 4 different storage places to find out which one was the one they signed with. It was kinda funny actually. Well we finally found it and started moving stuff in. Brother Hatch and the other Elders helped bring it on carts to the storage room and I played Tetris and got everything inside nicely. They then took us out to burritos at a place called Viva-Burrito. When we finished, they dropped us off back at our bikes. We biked home then looked at our watches. It was 4.....  We were there for 7 hours helping.... But the cool part about it is their roommate isn't a member but she is moving into the house in our ward with them. So we might be able to start teaching her soon!

Wednesday we had a Zone Training with President and Sister Killpack, and the Assistants to the President. It was from 1:30. But everyone was there by 1 and in their seats studying by 1:30 when President showed up. He was SUPER impressed with us. :) It was all centered around the talk "Seek Learning by Faith" by Elder Bednar. It was a great training because Everyone participated! We all learned from each other and bore our testimonies. Best training thus far! Afterwards we went to an activity for the Laurels and Priests of the East Stake. All of the missionaries in the East Stake were there too. They fed us and then President Killpack stood up and talked for a little bit. Following him, all of the missionaries, at their separate tables, shared an experience where they felt the closest to God or how they came to know he was there. It was an awesome experience for them and us!

Thursday we got Elder Siglin a Helmet, FINALLY! It was kinda funny though because we almost got hit twice at the same cross walk that same day! We haven't been almost hit all transfer but the day we got him some safety gear, that happens. Good thing we didn't get hit! :) But a car in the west got SHOT!!!!!! It was in my last area too! The Thornydale ward! The sisters in the ward went to go visit someone they were teaching and he was sitting on his porch with a BB gun. When they pulled up, he pointed the gun and hit the window behind the drivers seat!! It shattered the window!!! They drove off quickly and called the cops. Sister Munn and Sister Hale are the sisters over there now. Sister Hale called the Zone Leaders and this is what she said, "Hi elder Smith. This is Sister Hale. Our car just got shot. Sister Munn is with the cops. Wait, I gotta go!" and then hung up.. I don't know what I would have done if I was him... haha but luckily they are all okay! And the guy is in jail :)

Friday was our ward Activity. We had a game night! Everyone brought their favorite games and everyone just sat around eating ice cream and playing games with each other. It was a blast! We played phase 10 twist. I super lucky the first few rounds and the game would have been over in like 20 minutes if I kept it up! But my streak ended and it just dragged on and on for like almost like an hour. It was fun though :)

Saturday we went on Exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Williamson. He is such a great missionary! We taught 5 lessons and found 4 new investigators!! We literally talked with EVERYONE we saw. It was great though because it showed me that the people that I pass by on my way to my appointments are still ready to hear the message. I just have to make sure Im looking for them. We played Rugby tonight too. One of the people we are working with is names Nick. He is 22 and living with his girl friend. He came to rugby tonight and played with us. And he is FAST! Like, I can run a 5:24 mile still and that is fast for everyone else. But he runs it in under 5. It is crazy! But he is way cool and I cant wait to actually start teaching him!

Sunday we were in Sunday School and we are talking about prophets. But this guy stands up and says, "I love Joseph Smith. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a prophet. But I think that Spencer W. Kimble is a false prophet and is going to go to hell. Wow... It completely caught all of us off guard! After about 5 minutes of him saying everything that President Kimble teaches is wrong, we just invited him to talk to the bishop about it instead of to us. Wow... I have never heard anyone call out a prophet like that. How can you believe that God would allow a false prophet to lead our church? He wouldn't. And Spencer W. Kimble was a true prophet! Haha what a great experience for my journal. :P

Well that is my week! I can't wait to talk to you soon! I miss you and love you all so much! Please try to keep Saturday around 12 open! I will call on Friday and double check everything. :) I LOVE YOU!!!!